Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer: Best-selling mountain adventure by a fine climber and an excellent writer. Has become the touchstone for all other mountaineering books.
The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest by Anatoli Bourkreev: The Russian guide’s side of the 1996 Everest disaster story and a rebuttal to Krakauer’s Into Thin Air. Definitely worth reading.
The Other Side of Everest: Climbing the North Face through the Killer Storm by Matt Dickinson: One more facet of the 1996 Everest disaster, engagingly told by a man who didn’t expect to climb the mountain at all.
Postcards from the Ledge: Collected Mountaineering Writings of Greg Child by Greg Child: Witty and sarcastic, Australian climber Child spins yarns about his many adventures.
Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow: The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure by Maria Coffey: Well-written, extremely thought-provoking, memorable stories about the partners, spouses, and families of mountaineers.
Savage Summit: The True Stories of the First Five Women Who Climbed K2 by Jennifer Jordan: All 5 of these women are now dead; three died on descending K2.
Two for the Summit: My Daughter, the Mountains, and Me by Geoffrey Norman: Story of a journalist who has always wanted to climb and finally summits the Grand Teton and then Aconcagua with his teenaged daughter.
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson: Joe Simpson and Simon Yates were climbing in the Andes when Simpson fell from the vertical face edge of an ice ledge, breaking his leg. This book tells the story of his miraculous survival and grueling ordeal to get back to basecamp.
Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home by Nando Parrado: A survivor of the horrific 1972 plane crash that stranded his rugby team in the Andes for seventy-two days provides his account of the ordeal and of his desperate expedition across seventy miles of frozen wilderness to find help.
No Shortcuts to the Top by Ed Viesturs: A veteran mountaineer recalls some of his most dangerous climbs as he pursued the goal of reaching the summit of the world’s fourteen 8,000-meter peaks, discussing some of his own close calls and rescues, and errors in judgment on the part of fellow climbers.